OKLAHOMA CITY - Investigators with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture have recovered thousands of dollars of stolen equipment and arrested a metro man in a crime spree they say stretched across our state and into Texas.
And they were tipped off by a sharp-eyed witness who was in the right place at the right time.
“Said 'man, that looks like my friend’s trailer.' And the more I looked at it, and the more I looked at it because it’s a pretty distinctive trailer,” said Derek Dunlap.
Dunlap was going to the zoo with his family on Mother’s Day when he spotted the trailer with $30,000 worth of oil field equipment on it driving down I-40.
His father-in-law snapped pictures capturing the license plate of the truck pulling it.
“The guy noticed what we were doing and he immediately jumped off on Meridian,” said Dunlap.
That plate led investigators to Mitchell Moore, 48, who they say admitted to a whole slew of other thefts.
“He started stealing trailers and tractors, too to try to supply himself with enough meth to keep him going,” said Col. Jerry Flowers, Chief Agent with Investigative Services for the Department of Agriculture.
Col. Flowers says Moore stole trailers from Bristow down to Texas and from Clinton to Shawnee.
They have surveillance video from a church near Tulsa where they say Moore is trying to drive a stolen tractor up on a stolen trailer but the hitch is too small.
The trailer flips up then comes crashing down, crushing the back of the truck Moore had rented.
“He realizes he’s got a bind. And he can’t get the trailer now on there. So, he ends up leaving the tractor and the trailer,” said Flowers.
“I’ve got 50 trailers myself and the way the oil field is right now with cheap rates, you can’t afford to lose anything and replace it,” said Dunlap.
Dunlap was just glad he was in the right place at the right time to help a friend.
“Yeah, I think he owes me a steak dinner he said. I’m going to take him up on it,” said Dunlap.
So far, investigators have recovered about $70,000 worth of stolen equipment traced back to Moore.